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Woman's Stays

Artist/maker unknown, American or English

Probably made in England, Europe
or United States, North and Central America

Mid- 18th century

Glazed wool twill, buckram, linen thread, baleen, leather, linen plain weave lining, flax fibers

Center Front Length: 13 inches (33 cm) Center Back Length: 15 1/4 inches (38.7 cm) Waist: 28 inches (71.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. William D. Frishmuth, 1903

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People in the 1700s thought bodies looked best when chests were held out and shoulders held back and down. To get this look, children from the age of about eighteen months wore stiff, shaped undergarments called corsets or stays. Putting children in stays was not seen as cruel, but as helping them learn proper posture. Boys usually wore stays only in early childhood, but girls continued to wear them as grown-ups.

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